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flying buttress

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noun Architecture.
  1. a segmental arch transmitting an outward and downward thrust to a solid buttress that through its inertia transforms the thrust into a vertical one.
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Origin of flying buttress

First recorded in 1660–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for flying buttress

Historical Examples

  • Westward of this, and standing clear of the wall, is a fine fourteenth-century flying-buttress.

    Bell's Cathedrals: Chichester (1901)

    Hubert C. Corlette


British Dictionary definitions for flying buttress

flying buttress

noun
  1. a buttress supporting a wall or other structure by an arch or part of an arch that transmits the thrust outwards and downwardsAlso called: arc-boutant
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

flying buttress in Culture

flying buttress

An external, arched support for the wall of a church or other building. Flying buttresses were used in many Gothic cathedrals (see also cathedral); they enabled builders to put up very tall but comparatively thin stone walls, so that much of the wall space could be filled with stained-glass windows. The cathedrals of Chartres and Notre Dame de Paris were built with flying buttresses.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.